Hong Kongers are leaving for Taiwan. “This was no longer the Hong Kong I knew

A growing number of Hong Kongers prefer Taiwan to a future in the former crown colony. Taiwanese immigration agencies speak of record numbers, since Beijing passed a controversial security law. “The number of applications has increased fivefold.”

So the Hong Kong Eagle turned her back on her city after long deliberations, because she no longer felt safe in her own city. “I had been looking for information about emigration for a long time,” says Eagle, who has been living in Taipei since last autumn. “When gangs in my neighborhood beat up demonstrators and a medical aid worker was shot in her eyes and went blind, it was enough,” she says. “My heart is in Hong Kong, but this was no longer the Hong Kong I knew.”

Marches and protests: she says she didn’t participate. “For me, the most important thing was that Hong Kong was no longer stable and safe,” says the thirty-something-year-old about the main reasons for her departure.

She says she was very well received by the Taiwanese:

“The food here is delicious”, laughs Eagle, who runs an advertising company from Taipei and also has her own Youtube channel. She then introduces Taiwan to Hong Kongers. “Taiwanese culture is close to Hong Kong culture in every way.” Although Taiwan does not speak Cantonese but Mandarin, the traditional Chinese script is still used on the island.

Pressure was already there, but especially the last few weeks the storm is running. “Since the Security Act was implemented in Hong Kong, the number of applications has increased fivefold,” says Liu, pointing out that the corona restrictions mean that not everyone can be helped immediately. The Taiwanese government has now opened a special window to help Hong Kong people in need. “Since the opening, the phone has been ringing red hot”, says the Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (see box). Figures from the Mainland Affairs Council earlier this month showed that 54.5 percent of Taiwanese people welcome the counter. Wu: “There’s a lot of support and sympathy for the Hong Kong people here.”

Eagle was that hustle and bustle, by Taiwanese standards at least. “I knew there were a lot of requests from Hong Kongers to settle in Taiwan,” she says. “That’s why I thought it would be better to hurry. It was all going so fast, my friends were joking about it. Like I was looking for the emergency exit, haha.”

She has been living in Taiwan by now for almost a year and is eligible for a Taiwanese passport, which is also a passport to democratic rights.